There is no official Thanksgiving in the United Kingdom. There is a Harvest Festival celebration here in churches here in October but with church attendance at an all time low for so many reasons, many people are unfortunately barely aware of it. Many schools have a harvest festival celebration to bring a focuses to the harvest, and also to charitable giving, but on the whole it does not bring a broader attitude of gratitude into the mix. This is why we all need a Thanksgiving, a day marked out to corporately celebrate our blessings, and think about giving to others who may not be as blessed.
We have always kept Canadian Thanksgiving in October at our house. Although I am a naturalised British citizen, and have lived here more than half my life, I am Canadian by birth and enjoy keeping my family’s traditions. We also normally celebrate American Thanksgiving in November with a lovely American friend and her family, Both of these celebrations keep our minds on the positive and remind us to be grateful.
But Why Do We All Need A Thanksgiving Day?
Without some sort of official corporate non-denominational celebration of gratitude for our blessings, there is a risk people rush discontented through their lives. Assailed by advertising and the media, it’s easy to be swallowed up by the culture of “I want” where our day to day blessings are simply ignored.
We Need a Focus on Our Blessings
We are particularly guilty of ignoring our blessings here in the UK at the moment. With the help and encouragement of the media, the pandemic and lots of political turmoil, many of us embrace the negative and the gloomy. We even fill our children’s heads full of worries about an uncertain future. Society and the media preach the gospel of ‘I don’t know how you will ever manage’, ‘It’s going to be nearly impossible to build a career in this economy’, ‘You’ll be saddled with debt for the rest of your life’ and ‘You will never be able to buy your own home’ to our young people. How on earth can anyone be expected to forge bravely into their future with that kind of attitude all around them?
What we believe shapes our whole experience. I worry that if our young people hear these things repeated over and over, they will come to believe them. Our country bounced back from two World Wars and went on to enjoy great prosperity. I grew up in a very similar economic climate to today, and our life as a family is testament to the possibility that you can create your own experience, despite what is happening around you. Admittedly, the pandemic does throw a lot of uncertainty into the mix but an attitude of gratitude is key to not just surviving, but thriving.
A corporate celebration of Thanksgiving helps bring the focus back to what we have, and take it away from what we don’t have.
Why We Need to Be Grateful
Gratitude is the key to abundance, and that is one of the most important things we can teach our children. One thing I know for sure is that even during the darkest times of my life, I have had many, many things to be grateful for. While gratitude is at the centre of many faiths and religious beliefs, it is also something that is completely non-denominational. Being grateful for your blessings is incredibly important.
A corporate celebration of Thanksgiving would help us to focus on gratitude and help bring families and communities together.
Without gratitude for what you do have, it is pretty much impossible to create what you desire in your life.
On the Whole, We Are Blessed
Oh my, we are blessed. Yes, despite the pandemic and all the things that have happened this year. Bad things happen to everyone from time to time. However, our country is not at war. Many are suffering from economic insecurity, but most of us have enough to eat and somewhere to live. Water comes out of the tap. Light is available at the flick of a switch. It may be expensive, but we can buy normally buy food easily in the supermarkets. We live in relative safety, with police, a fire service, and hospitals available to us. We have the right to believe and say what we want, and we are free to worship as we choose. While many have suffered natural disasters this year, many of us have not. I could go on and on.
It’s Not Just About The Food
Thanksgiving is about more than the turkey, gravy, cranberry sauce, stuffing, and pumpkin pie and cakes. It’s about being together, whether that is in real life or via Zoom or FaceTime, and being grateful together. We will say a heartfelt prayer of thanks for our blessings, and pray for others who are not so fortunate all over the world. In the days and weeks proceeding the celebrations, we also make a point of choosing to donate to charities and food banks.
Why Black Friday and Not Thanksgiving?
In the past few years, retailers in the UK have embraced Black Friday and all the copious consumption it promotes. This year, some retailers are celebrating Black Friday for 2 whole weeks! However we still haven’t considered the possibility of a day to be grateful for what we already have.
Why We All Need Thanksgiving
By focusing on gratitude, abundance, community and positivity we could enhance our experience of life and our interactions with others. Thanksgiving would also provide a bright spot in what is often a very rainy, dark and gloomy time of year, leading us into winter the Christmas season in a spirit of gratitude, hope and celebration. Celebrating an official Thanksgiving Day would be an incredibly positive addition to our society and culture.
Wishing everyone who is celebrating a very Happy Thanksgiving!